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PIAGGIO’S PANDEMIC PLAYBACK

With a significant second-half score, Piaggio Group’s annual results for 2020 were down but definitely not out of the league. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Full-year revenue fell by 13.6% to £1.136bn. Powered two-wheeler sales including parts and accessories accounted for £900.1m of this total, declining by just 1.3%. Associated volume was 3.7% lower at 384,700 scooters and motorcycles.

Yearly operating profit sank by 32.2% to £61.3m — compared to a 67.1% reduction to barely a third of that in the first six months. Operating margin fell from 6.9% to 5.4%. Net profit slid by 33% to £27.1m, but more than tripled bottom-line performance in the January-June industrial lockdown peak period, which had plunged by 73.7%.

Annual operating expenses were cut by 14.9% to £260.9m. Net debt boasted a 22.8% decrease to £366.5m, against the position on 31 March at the beginning of major lockdowns. Piaggio attributed this feat to “the positive sales trend in the second half and careful management of working capital”.

Piaggio’s best bike sales achievements were in the Asia-Pacific region, where volume rose by 9.4% and turnover was 13.9% up. Its worst was in India, with a 33% slump in volume and an 18.7% revenue decline.

In Europe, the company claimed to have strengthened leadership of the PTW market, taking an overall 14.2% share. A considerable increase in motorcycle sales and a 24% share of the scooter segment were held responsible. North American scooter market domination improved to a 28.2% share, rising from 23.7% in 2019.

Among scooters, Piaggio Medley sales apparently grew by almost 40% with positive contributions from all main geographic areas. The Vespa brand was also positive, with volume rising by more than 20% in Germany, the Netherlands, the Americas and a number of Asian countries — most notably China, where sales more than doubled.

Motorcycle advances were largely thanks to the Moto Guzzi V850TT retro adventure and V7 models, with volumes rising by 26% in the second half of the year. The Aprilia RSV4 and the new RS660 twin also benefited from honourable mentions.

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